Helpful tools for learning Japanese! This includes phone apps, websites, Chrome/Firefox extensions, and podcasts to help in your language learning journey. From dictionaries, news sites, and kanji reading tools, all of the essentials are listed here.
Japanese Dictionary Takoboto is a great dictionary for android devices. It allows for searching in hiragana, katakana, romaji, and kanji. It features a kanji search option which allows you to search by radicals, gives example sentences, conjunctions, and shows you correct stroke order. You can also star vocab words to keep in your favorites as well as see your search history. There are also official study lists including the vocab and kanji for each level of the JLPT among other lists such as counters and radials. If subscribed, you can access other vocab lists created by other users. The subscription for the added services is $3 a month among deals for 6 months or 1 year, however a subscription is not necessary to enjoy this dictionary. Takoboto can be downloaded from the Google Play store here. Takoboto also has a desktop version. Click the image to enlarge.
Imiwa? is a great dictionary for iOS devices, found in the apple store. Vocab and kanji can be searched by hiragana, katakana, romaji, and by radical. The dictionary features kanji stroke order, SKIP kanji search system, conjunctions, example sentences, and more. You can also star vocab words in Imiwa? to easily access all of your new vocab or kanji. This app is free to use. You can download imiwa? here. Click the image to enlarge.
In both the android and the apple store, this app allows you to watch and read the latest news, live news castings, and weather updates in Japan. This app would be great for students in the 500 level classes (3rd and 4th year Japanese) as it allows you to learn about current events all while practicing your reading and listening comprehension. News categories include breaking news, word, politics, sports, entertainment, and more. This app is free to use and is hosted by asahi. You can download the app from the Google Play store here and the Apple store here. There is also a desktop website here. Click the image to enlarge.
Easy Japanese News is a great news app for Japanese learners of any level. Featuring news articles from both NHK and Mainichi and available in both the Android and Apple stores, this app allows for you to read all of the latest news. You are able to easily read news with both hiragana and kanji, sort by easy news, difficult news, or by JLPT level. Each article shows how much vocabulary is included per JLPT level, vocab words are underlined, and can be saved into your favorites. The app also features a dictionary, a section to practice translating the articles, and so much more. You can download the app in the Google Play store here and the Apple store here. The app is free to use with adds, and also has a desktop site here. Click the image to enlarge.
Aomi Japanese is a fun app featured in both the android and apple store to aid in your speaking abilities and pitch accent. While teaching you helpful daily conversation words and phrases including idioms, slang, and onomatopoeia, this app will guide you to having a fluid and natural conversation. Everyday you gain new words and phrases as you unlock levels and collect stamps. This app is free to use to a certain extent, but to gain full access you can buy a year subscription for $29.99 or lifetime access for $59.99. The year long subscription also includes a one week free trial, which can be cancelled before the start of the paid time period. You can access Aomi from the Google Play store here and the Apple store here. Click the image to enlarge.
Duolingo is one of the best study apps for Japanese, whether you're just starting your learning adventure or are more advanced in Japanese vocab and grammar, Duolingo is an easy and helpful app to use to better your language skills. While Duolingo also has a subscription version for $6.99 a month, they occasionally give 1-2 week free trials, and you still have access to a majority of the app with the free version. Within the app you can either start from the beginning of learning the basics, or test into a more advanced level that better fits your current language abilities. The app includes vocab and kanji recognition, spelling, speaking, and reading. Duolingo does a great job at giving the feeling of playing any other phone game while allowing you to learn Japanese. You can download Duolingo from the Google Play store here and the Apple store here. Click the image to enlarge.
Jisho is one of the best Japanese dictionaries out there! You can search in English, Japanese, romaji, kanji, radicals, draw, or voice to text! The search results will show you the term you're searching for as well as similar terms with the same word/kanji, as well as allow you to see example sentences, conjugations, and more. All around a great dictionary and a must for every Japanese learner to use. You can access Jisho here or click the image.
NHK's News Web Easy allows for learners of Japanese to easily read the news online. Each article features the ability to turn on or off furigana, as well as color markers to indicate if a word is a place, business, or name. Each article also has underlined vocab words with definitions in Japanese. Each article also features a video which you can listen to while reading the article. You can search through popular articles by the day they were posted, as well as weather updates and information about topics such as tornados, tsunamis, typhoons, and more. You can access the site by clicking here or in the image above.
OJAD (Online Japanese Accent Dictionary) has a great program for Japanese learners to aid in speaking ability and proper pitch accent. With Prosody Tutor you can input a word, sentence, or an entire speech and get both a mapping of the pitch accent of each word as well as a generated voice to read along with. This site is a helpful tool when preparing for a speaking quiz, presentation, dialogue practice, and more. You can access Prosody Tutor here or by clicking the logo. Their whole dictionary can be accessed here, which allows you to search for the pitch of any word.
Rikaikun is a Japanese reading Google Chrome extension. Rikaikun helps one read kanji while giving English definitions to the word, making it great for Japanese learners who want to read news articles, navigate Japanese websites, and even aid in reading online academic sources. Click here to download Rikaikun.
IPA Furigana is a Google Chrome extension to help you read kanji anywhere online by adding furigana above each kanji. This extension is great for higher level students who would like an aid for reading kanji in news articles or scholarly sources. You will need to turn on the extension every time you enter a new page. With this extension on, any page your print out on paper will also print out the furigana! You can download IPA Furigana here.
Yomichan is another great Google Chrome and Firefox extension to help read kanji and translate in text. Yomichan requires you to download a dictionary from their site, where you can add an array of different dictionaries, including names, slang, and other foreign languages such as Japanese to Spanish, German, etc. You can download the extension for Google Chrome here, for Firefox here, and access their site for more information and dictionaries here. Click the image to enlarge.
Subadub is a Chrome and Firefox extension which allows for you to add Japanese subtitles to Netflix movies and TV shows. This is very helpful for those wanting to practice their reading and listening comprehension. Subadub also allows you to highlight their subtitles and can be used with Rikaikun, Yomichan, and other similar extensions. You are also able to download a transcript of the subtitles. Please note that not all films have subtitles (Japanese movies, TV shows, and anime work best. If you highlight over the video preview, the bar at the top right will appear with Japanese CC). If there is a problem loading Japanese subtitles, you might need to enter and exit the video or refresh the page. You can download subadub for Google Chrome here and for Firefox here. Click the image to enlarge.
Thinking in Japanese is a podcast on a variety of topics for beginners learning Japanese. The podcasts are all in Japanese, and spoken slowly and clearly to allow beginners to comprehend sentences and sentence structure. For $5 a month on Patreon, you can access more podcasts, scripts, vocabulary lists, and more. You can access their podcasts on Spotify for free here or Apple podcasts here. You can access their Patreon here to subscribe for more content. This podcast is recommended for students in first and second year courses.
Nihongo Con Teppei is an easy to understand Japanese learning podcast for beginners. This podcast features simple conversation topics such as "What is your favorite food" and "Do you like manga?" which will aid in your abilities to talk about these topics with friends or in the classroom. Nihongo Con Teppei is recommended for students in first and second year courses. Their Spotify profile can be accessed here.
Learn Japanese with Noriko is a great podcast for more advanced Japanese learners. Noriko is a Japanese teacher and tutor who also runs a YouTube channel. Noriko offers podcasts on a variety of topics including travel, news, Japanese learning tips, and about her daily life. You can access Learn Japanese with Noriko's Spotify profile here. Noriko offers her transcriptions for free through her website, which can be accessed from clicking here. You can also access bonus episode for $5 a month here through Spotify. For more about Noriko and her service, you can access her website here. Learn Japanese with Noriko is recommended for students in third and fourth year courses.
Let's Learn Japanese with Small Talk! is a podcast featuring two Japanese girls studying in the UK, where they talk about topics from Japanese customs and culture, Japanese pop culture, and what it's like living in Japan. They occasionally mention words in English to help those who aren't fully able to understand more difficult vocabulary. You can access their Spotify profile here. Let's Learn Japanese with Small Talk! also offers a vocabulary list for each podcast, which can be accessed here. Let's Learn Japanese with Small Talk is recommended for students in third and fourth year courses.
The Miku Real Japanese Podcast features Miku, a Japanese teacher and Youtuber. Miku often talks about her experience teaching Japanese in Mexico, Japanese culture, and also chats with friends about travels, teaching, and life in Japan. Miku's Spotify profile can be accessed here. Miku also has a Youtube channel featuring helpful videos about learning Japanese, which can be accessed here. You can also access Miku's website here, where she offers more content and lessons. The Miku Real Japanese Podcast is recommended for students in fourth year courses.
YUYUの日本語Podcast is a podcast about a variety of topics, often about life in Japan, Japanese culture, along with podcasts featuring guests. YUYU talks at a fairly natural pace compared to other Japanese study podcasts. YUYU also has a Patreon, where you can subscribe for more content including transcripts of his podcasts and give recommendations for podcast topics. YUYU has subscriptions for $1 a month and $20 a month, but his podcasts are all free on Spotify. You can access YUYU's Spotify profile here and his Patreon profile here. YUYUの日本語Podcast is recommended for students in fourth year courses.
日本語を大切にしたい is a podcast featuring slow and polite Japanese conversation. This podcast is great for those who want to better their understanding and comprehension of more advanced and polite Japanese, such as for work purposes or talking to professors. This podcast talks about a large variety of topics, and their Spotify profile can be accessed here. 日本語を大切にしたい also have a YouTube channel which can be accessed here and a blog which can be accessed here. This podcast is recommended for students in fourth level courses.